Ilkeston, a restored historic narrowboat, is nearing the end of a 200-mile journey across the canal network to celebrate her 100th birthday.
Ilkeston set off on her journey from the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port almost three months ago and is due to arrive at the London Canal Museum tomorrow (23 August), where she will be welcomed by journalist Kate Adie OBE.
Built in 1912, she has been completely restored to her former glory thanks to boatyard staff, volunteers and Heritage Lottery Fund, who supported boatyard trainees at the National Waterway Museum’s Heritage Boatyard.
To celebrate her centenary and restoration, Ilkeston has made a 200-mile journey from Ellesmere Port, through over 100 locks, to London along the Shropshire Union Canal and Grand Union Canal. The journey has seen Ilkeston stop off at many points along the way including Stoke Bruerne, Milton Keynes and Rickmansworth.
Since Ilkeston is unpowered she has been towed by a powered boat for the whole trip, mirroring the common commercial usage of her time. Ilkeston will travel the final leg through Regents Park and Camden Town, being towed as she was intended to be – by horse.
Ilkeston will be welcomed at the London Canal Museum by journalist and former chief news correspondent for BBC News, Kate Adie OBE. She will then stay be exhibited there for a month before making her way back to her home in Ellesmere Port where she is on display as part of the national collection.